Monday, December 12, 2011

Looking back at 2011

Though 2011 isn't officially in the books yet, we're definitely in the home stretch. Therefore, I wanted to get a quick post up with some recollections of the past 11 1/2 months as well as some educated guesses for what 2012 will look like.

Looking back.
2011 has been a really interesting year. Of course, I imagine that at the end of each year, I have the same thought, but nevertheless, I digress..

The Mobile Revolution?
We've heard a lot of people within the industry talk about mobile technologies taking off, and rightfully so. However, it is still baffling to me that mobile is a secondary requirement for many projects. For every client that 'gets it', there's 3-4 more who look at mobile as something they'll do "at some point". That's astonishing to me. Walking down the street, and just about everywhere else, people are consumed with their mobile devices -- yet, you don't think people care what your site looks like on a smartphone? It's just strange, And here we are in 2011, and it seems like companies are OK falling behind their competition, yet again. If you don't know history, you're bound to repeat it -- right?

Ektron 8.5 Delivered.
Many, many years ago, I saw a preview of Ektron 8.0, almost two years before it was actually released. And 8.0 was a great release, with content targeting, mobile support, in context editing, and other enhancements. Unfortunately, 8.0 is easily forgotten when you see Ektron 8.5. Ektron knew it needed to be a big release and it delivers. It's faster. It's easier to use. PageBuilder is cleaner and simpler. The developer enhancements are widely acknowledged (by people with a lot stronger tech knowledge than I). If you're an Ektron user and you haven't upgraded yet, add that to your early 2012 project list.

Newest Buzzword? Risk.
I don't know if it's the down economy, but I've never heard the term risk bandied about as much in my life. Newsflash -- everything has risk associated with it. If I don't put gas it my car, I risk running out and being stranded. If I don't buy food for my family, I risk us starving to death. If I don't pay the heating bill, I risk the gas company turning off the heat. I'm all for alleviating risk, but can we focus less on CYA, and more on ROI?

Alas, enough about the past.

Looking Ahead
I'm smart enough to not go out and make bold predictions about the world ending or Apple going bankrupt, so here are three things that I expect to happen in 2012.

People Actual Get Social.
Sure, there are millions of people of Facebook and Twitter, but many of them don't know why. Facebook is a little easier to comprehend because there are more personal connections forged there and there is a lot of water cooler type talk that's transitioned there. But Twitter/Foursquare/etc. are really primed to go more mainstream in 2012. When people start realizing the power these tools offer, and become more accustomed to seeing and using them on their mobile devices, we'll see a completely different social universe. On the plus side, at least we appear to be past the point of people tweeting 'going to the restroom, back in 5... or 10'.

Blogs will Come Again.
Even with dwindling attention spans, many social posts still reference something else, and blogs are a great landing spot. With the ability to abandon typical writing standards for the more informal, conversational blog tone, users will realize that somewhere between a long blog post (like this) and a tweet, is really the sweet spot for communication.

Specialization will Reign Supreme.
We see this across all avenues. When you go to Burger King, do you want a cheeseburger and Burger King cola, or do you want a cheeseburger and a Pepsi? Of course it's the latter (unless you're in Canada, in which Burger King carries Coke products (which I usually prefer, except during a recent visit where the goal was to find a Dr. Pepper and the local BK let us down)). While many tools will force feed you with their 'all in one' solution, successful vendors like Ektron will continue down the best of breed path, allowing you to pick who you think is best for each of the important elements of your marketing plan, instead of being dictated to you. In my book, it just makes sense.

So, am I off my rocker this fine afternoon? Let me know what you think and if you have something to contribute, be sure to comment below or drop me a note at jon (dot) kee (at) ektron (dot) com. Happy holidays!